“I have always been a sports fan, ever since I was a boy,” said Giorgio Armani from Milan, where, starting yesterday, he’s filled his corner of the city with muscles rather than the lanky models in town for Fashion Week. “Emotions of the Athletic Body” is his third curatorial testament to that appreciation for athletes — a photography exhibition featuring the toned likes of Serena Williams, David Beckham, and Rafael Nadal, all of whom he has recruited for Armani campaigns over the years.
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Armani is slouch himself. He has always kept up a personal exercise regime — even now that he's in his eighties — and has his hand among the professionals as well. “The one [sport] I follow the most attentively is basketball,” he said, adding that his favorite team is Milan’s Olimpia EA7, which he became the owner of in 2014 (that's when he also started designing uniforms for the Italian Olympics team).
But the muscles on display at Armani/Silos, his new museum, don’t just belong to Italians: Shot by photographers like David Sims and Mert and Marcus, the famous bodies of Williams and Beckham are showcased alongside the likes of Pietro Bosseli, the math teacher who’s been modeling for Armani since age six. All of them, Armani said, represent “the human ability to endure and work hard." He can sympathize: he scheduled his spring 2017 womenswear show the very morning after the exhibition’s opening.